Uplifting start to the new season over Old Pats
By russell vale
Stroud U15s show excellent lineout skills to start the season in great style
Stroud vs Old Pats – 16th Sept 2018
It was the start of a new season at Fromehall for Stroud U15s. Last seasons fantastic experience was history and we were starting from zero again. But this year was going to be different – the forwards were learning new skills. Uncontested lineout lifting was the new element to have to remember. 3 short training sessions had introduced the basics to the kids. Delia had also reminded the kids and parents of the concussion protocols. Was this a precursor to even bigger hits this season or the potential for the lineout lifting to go wrong and kids be dropped and land on their heads?
Old Pats were the first game of the season on a dry but windy day. They were a team we had beaten twice last season in close games so it would be a great test to see if we were going to have another competitive season or not.
Forwards: Lucas, Liam, Stoner, Darion, Mr T, Sauce, Laurie, Keyan
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Arthur, Josh, Billy, Alex
Subs: Flash, Orgy, Jedd, Bernie, Callum, Euan, Haydn, Jamie
Kicking Tee duty: injured Nibbles
Stroud kicked off and were quickly into the game with a good kick chase and subsequent turnover. Quick ball to the backs gave Will the chance to kick for the corner but an alert defender touched the ball down in the try area. Pats did a 22 drop out that Alex caught and setup the next attack. The backs went right and Dave tiptoed down the wing. Good tackling stopped him from scoring and good counter rucking won Pats a turnover. Josh put in a good tackle to keep them deep in their 22. Pats kicked the ball away but Alex caught it cleanly and ran it back. Dave and Darion took the attack back into the Pats 22 who were eventually penalised at a ruck. A quick tap penalty and pass to Dave and he squeezed past the last defender to dive into the right corner for the 1st try of the game. A difficult conversion into the wind was missed – in no small part thanks to Chris O giving kicker Will a lesson in mind games from the sideline. Stroud 5 – 0 Old Pats.
Pats kicked off and Josh caught cleanly and attacked. Billy took on the attack but good pressure at the breakdown by both teams forced turnovers. Pats had a scrum and it was Stroud that were fired up most and pushed forcefully. Pats managed to keep the ball alive though but that just gave Sauce and Dave chances to make punishing tackles that forced turnovers. Dave saw a gap and kicked on and Darion did a great kick chase to force a turnover that Keyan then took down the right wing. Pats won a penalty and kicked for touch. They knocked on at lineout and Stroud had a scrum restart that they won easily. Hilly got the ball out to Will who fed crash-monster Dave who broke the 1st tackle and then turned it up the left wing to score a try in the corner. Another difficult kick was just missed. 10-0 to Stroud.
Stroud knocked on at the kickoff and Pats took the ball on at pace. Alex tackled the winger and forced a knock-on. Stroud won the scrum and kicked the ball away. The teams exchanged attacking plays until Stroud were awarded a lineout. First chance for the lineout to show their new moves. It wasn’t a great start with the throw too high but an alert Keyan got the ball at rear of lineout and set up an attacking move. Arthur, back from long term injury, was quickly back into the game with a strong run. Then it was the forwards turn with Mr T and Liam making good yardage. Pats won a penalty though and kicked deep. They had a lineout on 5 metre line but were not doing lift moves. Stroud defended gallantly though and Keyan forced a turnover that Dave then kicked deep. This time Will was first one there to force a turnover. Keyan attacked right but was stopped in the 22. The next few minutes was scrums and Stroud attacking moves and kicks for tryline and Pats 22 drop outs.
Stroud’s defence was excellent with Billy and Sauce making their mark – quite literally. The biggest tackle though came from Stoner. He knocked the poor Pats player into next week, and was then kind enough to pick him up, hand him Delia’s concussion sheet, do the assessment, and then declare him match fit to take more punishment later in the game. Stoner then showed his attacking skills with some forceful running. Mr T then took on the attack further. Good clearing out from Lucas and Laurie then got clean ball to Will who kicked for the try area. He chased his own kick and thought he’d scored but Old Pats had done well to carry the ball back into the try area and touch down. Stroud had a scrum on 5 metre line that they won. Haydn and Liam had great runs up the middle but Pats defended bravely to keep them out. Stroud adapted and went out to the backs and Dave bounced around some defenders and squeezed over the line for his 3rd try. Will did a good kick from wide and the score was now 17-0
Pats kicked off high and Josh showed great skill to catch it under pressure. Stoner and Jedd then made strong runs. Hilly set the backs off on another attacking run and Keyan came left and was chopped down but offloaded to a well supporting Billy who saw his chance and cut inside and took the offload at pace and finished it off under the posts. Good kick for 24-0 lead and a fantastic team try.
Liam was the next kickoff returner and put a great move to sidefoot the kick chase. Pats did well at the breakdown though and forced a turnover. Stroud were out of position and Pats quickly moved the ball out wide to their quick winger who scooted down the line and scored in the corner for a well deserved try. The kick was missed but Pats had got on the scoreboard at 24-5.
Pats attacked again from the kickoff and kept the ball alive through a few phases and made their way into the Stroud half. They improvised and kicked down the left wing but an alert Billy saw the threat and tracked back to cover the ball and take it out of play to the shrill of the half time whistle.
Half Time: Stroud 24 – 5 Old Pats
Stroud were still half asleep at the Pats kickoff and let it bounce. Pats recovered it but Lucas put in a good tackle. Old Pats were keen to keep attacking though and swiftly moved the ball right. They kept it in close with their forwards but Stroud were defending stoutly. An intelligent cross field kick though from the Pats flyhalf was inspired and although Billy managed to scramble back and stop the winger from scoring they quickly recycled the ball and scored in the corner. Conversion was missed with the score now 24-10 to Stroud.
Pats returned the kickoff into the fierce tackling of Sauce and Laurie. The game settled down again with both teams taking it in terms to attack, kick and defend in equal measures. Highlights were strong tackles from Orgy and Euan. Old Pats were starting to impose themselves more and more on the game and worked the ball out well to the left wing. Just as we thought they had scored again Billy made a last gasp tackle to slow down the winger at the 5 metre line and as he stumbled on and dived for the line Alex finished him off and the ball was knocked on. Stroud lost the scrum though and Pats attacked again left and right. There was no way through the Stroud defence though so again they improvised with a cross field kick but this time it bounced out. Stroud had a lineout on own 5 metre line. A superb lift and catch with Euan was rewarded with the backs attacking left from under the posts and going through all the hands. Josh sped down the left flank but Pats marshalled him well. An inside pass went unrewarded with Pats intercepting it and running it into touch.
Another great Stroud lineout lift and take by Euan went unrewarded as Stroud knocked on and gave an accidental offside penalty. Pats kicked for touch again. Jim saw his chance for glory but muffed the catch as his son was heard shouting – leave rugby to the real players. Pats took their lineout chance and attacked through a number of phases. A strong run from their forwards broke the Stroud defensive line and threatened to score but Alex brought down the big guy. It was all to no avail though as Pats quickly recycled the ball left and scored a 3rd try in the corner. Another conversion was missed from wide left but the score had closed to 24-15 and Pats had shown they were up for the fight.
Stroud kicked off again and needed to regain control of the game. Both teams alternated with attacking and defending. Stroud were dominant in the scrum which gave them good attacking options whether they be in Pats half or deep in their own half. One move was rewarded with the backs coming out to the left and timing their passes to perfection. New player Jamie was unlucky to miss the ball but it didn’t matter as an alert Flash was looping past him and managed to snaffle the pass and take it up the left wing at pace. He scored in the corner and trotted back to the adulation of the parents for another great team try. Jim was still trying to make up for his muffed catch by then declaring that as a 2nd row player in his prime in the 1980’s he would have done that same move but run it under the posts. It didn’t matter as Will did an excellent kick from wide to make the score 31-15.
Pats kicked off and Josh was again ready with a clean catch and run. Mr T and Laurie then did more powerful runs. Pats were still in the game though and forced a turnover. They attacked right but Jamie put in a good tackle to slow them up. Eventually Will forced a turnover and Stroud went on the attack. A quick inside ball to Dave launched him up the left and he scooted back inside and scored under the posts. An easy conversion and the score was now 38-15.
The best move of the match was still to come though. Pats had kicked off long into touch. An excellent throw from Orgy and great lifting by the forwards gave Laurie a clean catch and dish. Flash set the backs off to the left. It went through all the hands at pace with the passes offloaded just before being tackled. The ball ended up in Billy Wizz’s hands and he finished off the move by lighting the afterburners and scoring under the posts. It was a great try with every person on the field involved in the move during that 20 second phase of play. Another good conversion and Stroud were winning 45-15.
Pats kicked off into space but Callum was brave to recover the ball and go into contact. Good support from Bernie helped keep the ball under control. Stroud kept the attack going but knocked on. Pats won their scrum under pressure from a strong Stroud push and showed great skills to keep the ball alive and move it left and release their pacy winger who managed to score another good Pats try – a fair reward for their efforts in their 2nd half. A good kick made it 45-22.
The last passage of play was a Stroud deep kick off, a missed catch, an opportunistic hack on from Billy and a dive onto the loose ball in the try area to score his 3rd try – great return for his all round contribution to the game offensively and defensively. Will’s excellent kick from the far try line was low but accurate and squeezed over the bar. Those mind games from Chris O had failed and Will had nailed 6 from 8 kicks in tough conditions including 3 from out wide – picking up from where he left off last season.
The final whistle went and both sets of players and coaches congratulated each other for a hard fought game played in great spirit between two teams that both showed enterprise in attack and good discipline in defence.
Full Time: Stroud 52 – 22 Old Pats
A team debrief was held and the coaches were very impressed with the performance for the first game of the season – in particular the lineout play was superb. Just imagine what it could develop into after more game time and more coaching time. Might even be able to find a move where we get Hilly and Flash in as lifters on Lucas. That will confuse the opponents! Tackling out wide was highlighted by players and coaches as an area of improvement.
The final score flattered Stroud a bit. Old Pats had hung in there during a dominant Stroud 1st half and done well to come back to within 9 points half way through 2nd half. We always knew they'd come back strongly based on our 2 tough games last season. Stroud had shown great resolve though to weather this storm and then stretch their legs in last quarter to score tries from distance to give them a good win to kick off the season with.
Onto the clubhouse and copious helpings of pasta and bolognaise sauce with garlic bread were the reward for both sets of players – plus about 50 rashers of bacon that they found in the depths of the kitchen heaters.
Banbury next week. Best leave on Friday night to guarantee getting their on time for warmups. Let’s just call it a tour game and stop at every Cotswold pub on the way there…….